Like the Huffington Post on steroids, MSG’s weekly show The Lineup continues to tell us what we already know.
In the first four episodes we were told that the best catcher in New York baseball history was Yogi Berra, the best first baseman Lou Gehrig, the best second baseman Jackie Robinson, and the best third baseman Alex Rodriguez, with only two dissenting votes in all four segments. (Two of the show’s five panelist thought Graig Nettles was better than A-Rod; maybe they should test all the panel members for hallucinatory drugs.) I want to say I told you so, but then you probably picked all four of those positions yourself.
Last night was another no-brainer.
All five panelists selected Derek Jeter as New York’s all-time best shortstop over Jose Reyes, Travis Jackson of the John McGraw-era Giants, Phil Rizzuto and Pee Wee Reese. Host Fran Healy summed Jeter up best: “Two of these guys — Rizzuto and Reese — are Hall of Famers, and Jeter stands head and shoulders above them. What does that say about him?” What it says is that Vinnie from Queens should stop calling the FAN and asking “Do you think Derek Jeter is going to make the Hall of Fame?” Jeter is already more qualified than either Scooter or Pee Wee were at the ends of their careers.
The surprise entry, of course, was Jose Reyes. It might have been interesting if someone on the panel — we assume this ball should have been tossed to Steve Hirdt — had made a case for how close Reyes is to Jeter. Before this season, Jose had played in 791 games and scored 551 runs; in Jeter’s first 786 games, he scored 605 runs with much better hitters following him in the order. Jose began the season with 303 stolen bases, only four fewer than Derek has right now. And Reyes is much superior in the field. I would have liked to hear someone say: “If we meet back here in ten years to do this show, Jose Reyes may well be our number one pick ahead of Derek Jeter.”
Here’s an interesting twist on next week’s show, The Left Fielders. Projecting on The Lineup a few weeks ago, I said it was obvious that Babe Ruth would be the best right fielder, and that probably Joe DiMaggio would be chosen as center fielder, with Willie Mays being relegated to left. Mickey Mantle (and also Duke Snider) would be left out of their lineup altogether. Now it appears they’re going to pick not the three best outfielders but an “authentic” right, center, and left fielder — which means yet another Yankee, probably Rickey Henderson or Dave Winfield, will be the pick for left.
My vote goes to Rickey — and so, I’m certain, will the panel’s — which changes my center field pick. If DiMaggio is chosen for center, this would simply put too many Yankees in the lineup, so now I predict that the panel will choose Mays, making him the only Giant among New York’s best.